Sylvère Lotringer traces his career and intellectual path through conversations with Donatien Grau.
In the mid-1970s Sylvère Lotringer created Semiotext(e), a philosophical group that became a magazine and then a publishing house. Since its creation Semiotext(e) has been the place for stimulating dialogue between artists and philosophers, and American artistic and intellectual life for the past fifty years has largely depended on it. The model of the journal and the publishing house revolves essentially around the notion of the collective, and its creator Sylvère Lotringer has rarely divulged his personal journey: his existence as a hidden child during the Second World War; the liberating and then traumatic experience of the collective in the kibbutz; his Parisian activism in the 1960s; his time of wandering, which took him by way of Istanbul to the United States; and then of course his American years, the way he mingled his nightlife with the formal experimentation he invented with Semiotext(e) and his classes.
Since the early 2010s Donatien Grau has developed the habit of visiting Sylvère Lotringer during his trips to Los Angeles; some of their dialogues were published or held in public. We are given an entry into Sylvère Lotringer's life, his friendships, his choices, his admiration for some of the leading thinkers of our times. The conversations show bursts of life, traces of a journey, through texts and existence itself, with an unusual intensity.
A former student from the Ecole Normal Supérieure, Paris, Donatien Grau is a literary graduate from the Political Studies Institute, Paris, and an art critic and writer. He teaches Literature at the Sorbonne University in Paris, writes for several magazines, and is contributing editor of Flash Art
magazine. He is interested in the communication of classical culture and the connections between art and literature.
Donatien Grau has edited Olivier Zahm's collection of texts Une avant-garde sans avant-garde – Essai sur l'art
(Les presses du réel & JRP|Ringier) and has coedited Pierre Guyotat et l'Algérie